March 14, 2011

Stop the Counter

Well it is time to stop the counter at 2139 days. This is how long it has been since this adventure began, since we left our home in Lacombe and moved to the big city of Toronto to learn how to sail. Can you believe I am actually at a loss for words?

We have arrived back at our home in Lacombe and it is so strange to be back at the beginning. All of our "things" are just as we remember. Funny how they just seem like things now. I guess this happens when you live without them for so long. We feel like we are in a bit of a time warp but we are thoroughly enjoying it. My favorite thing is my king size pillow top bed.

Everyone seems so excited to see us and I feel like a bit of a let down. None of us are quite sure how to describe this journey in a conversation. There just doesn't seem to be the words. Everyone does seem to ask, "How could you do it?" and "Weren't you scared?" and it is funny because I am always reminded of a day with my niece Sarah in Red Deer, Alberta. I actually wrote a blog about it and it still remains my favorite blog post. I think it sums up exactly "How we were able to do it!". I have decided to post it as my final blog below.

Thank you to everyone who has followed our adventures. It always touched my heart to hear that so many of you were enjoying reading along. I loved it. It would be great if you have been reading if you can leave your name as a comment on this final post. It will be a nice log for us of everyone who crossed the ocean with us.

Words escape me....enjoy the post below and don't forget.....BITE OFF MORE THAN YOU CAN CHEW AND THEN CHEW IT!!



Finding your inner strength

This story happened a few days ago but it really signified for me how we each need to find that little piece of something inside that drives us to overcome our fears and challenge ourselves.

Mom, Graham and I, my sisters five kids and our two kids, headed out for a picnic at the Discovery Canyon. Discovery Canyon is a little man made river and beach that kids tube down. When we got there mom and I quickly figured out that it was going to be a bit of an exhausting day. One of us needed to walk up to the start of the river with the kids and the tubes and the other needed to wait at the bottom at the beach and watch the two littlest ones (Joe 3 and Mandy 5). Now Alex and Zac were up and gone and of course needed no assistance. Amelia and Katie were also self sufficient. The problem was that Sarah needed a little bit of help in certain parts of the river. Mom or I would need to enter the river and give her a push in the right direction or help her out of a bind at various points. Not fun, so after quite a few runs, I asked Graham to take a shift going up with the girls.

After a few minutes I looked up the river and could see Graham standing on the side. From my vantage point I couldn't see Sarah but I knew he must be looking at her. He didn't look angry but right away I knew that he had decided that if she wanted to tube the river she was going to need to do it herself. Part of me wanted to run up there and smack him and tell him to get in there and help her but part of me also wondered if maybe his approach was the right one.

Amelia and Katie made it down the river and walked back up to the point where Sarah was stuck and Graham was standing. Graham told me later that they both begged him to enter the river and help Sarah down. Graham wasn't budging. Finally after a while, Sarah realized she couldn't do it and got out and climb up to where Graham was. She began to cry and Graham and her started walking back. She was walking behind Graham. I felt so bad but I thought better not to focus on it. I went to the picnic blanket and called everyone for lunch and mass chaios began, "Who wanted ham?..." ...."This sandwhich has mustard on it..."..."Where's my juice..." and then I came to Sarah's sandwich and I looked up to hand it to her and she was nowhere to be found.

We began looking and then I realized that one tube was missing. We were shocked, never in a million years would I have looked back up that river for her. Graham had already started over there and I was quite a few paces back but at the same moment we had scanned from the start of the river, all the way to the base and our eyes reached Sarah finishing the ride and getting ready to come to shore, at the exact same moment.

We were literally in SHOCK. We were witnessing, a child who I have known since the day she was born, find that inner strength that each of us has. She was NOT going to let the river beat her. She didn't need Graham, she didn't need Katie, she didn't need Amelia...she was going to do it all on her OWN. As she walked towards us I was surprised that she wasn't smiling or looking proud. She was crying and to be honest she looked angry. I think the anger and sadness truly signified the size of her accomplishment. We all erupted in a round of applause as she approached.

I asked her later who she was mad at...I was wondering if maybe perhaps her anger at Graham had driven her but she said...."I was just mad because I wanted to do it!"

There it was for me, my life lesson, from my beautiful, complex, brave niece. It doesn't matter if it is a river you tube down or sailing around the just have to WANT to do it and anything is possible.


  1. Linda from Newfoundland :) I've been following your journey all along...thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. Hey! I started reading the blog after chatting about your adventures with the Huyders and have very much enjoyed following along with your adventures. Your blog has been filled with inspiring words along with contagious passion and sense of adventure.

    All the best in our endeavors back in Canada, until the sea calls you back again!

  3. Picked up on you guys while following the Buratynsky’s (Gromit).
    Hope you find something to fill the void, especially you Julie, maybe write a book.
    Thanks for sharing the adventure.

    Marianne & Bill
    Campbellville, Ontario

  4. I have been following your journey since the begining of this adventure, sometimes thinking that I would love to do this and experience it with my family, others thinking you are crazy and no way would I be able to complete the trip. I will miss your blog! You have great skill for putting your thoughts fears and triumphs in to words that can be read and felt by the land lover that I am! Welcome home!

  5. I sailed across the oceans with your stories. Luis in Toronto

  6. What an adventure! And so cool that it's all here in the blog. Can't wait for the book!

    Glad you have you home now where we can hear all about it first hand.

    It's awesome to see so many people who followed along on your journey.

    Sign in everyone!

  7. i've been following since just before panama when i realized you'd be travelling with Gromit.
    i don't know which is my favourite post, but i was amazed at the remoteness and beauty of rose atoll.
    thank you for sharing your adventure.
    - george, montreal

  8. What a great adventure!!

    Katie Sparks
    Cochrane AB

  9. Sam and I have been following your adventures since that day in 2005 Graham knocked on our door and wanted to rent an apt in Toronto -- we have been eagerly following your blog and are truly blessed you know you - both in person and via computer screen! Can't wait to see you all again!
    Sam, Rebecca, Juliana and Jesse

  10. Congratulations to the whole family! Full circle and all the better in love and wisdom for it! Still would enjoy a scuba dive with the kids someday! We're remain in the Roatan area...think vacation?
    Hugs to all...
    Joyce and Paul
    s/v Lady H

  11. We have followed your voyage with interest all the way! John helped the Gromit folk bring their "new" boat home to Toronto before the start of their journey. Then we linked to your blog. We really enjoyed the way you shared your feelings about what you were experiencing.
    The photos were wonderful. We wish you all many more wonderful life adventures.
    Thanks for the trip.
    John and Barb, Penetanguishene

  12. Hey!
    Regards from the rains of Picton / South Island to Canada and lots of good luck for all of you!

    The AKKAnauts will miss you!

  13. Thanks for finishing your blog about me.

    -Sarah :)

  14. Artemo - What a fabulous family adventure you have had! It has been fun to follow you, having met you briefly at the Humber sailing club when we were preparing for our trip as well. We now wish you strength and wisdom for making the best of your transition to the next phase of your life - whatever it is that calls each of you.

    Dave, Shirley and Christopher
    sv Tiffany Rose
    Orangeville ON

  15. I have finally had time to catch up on your blog and was actually disappionted to learn that it is "the end". You guys have such a talent with words - it was so exciting to live this adventure with you through the blog. I think I mentioned the last time I saw you, Julie, that it should be published. I hope you do. Congratulations on a successful and safe return to the Great White North. Please keep in touch.

    Jan Raeburn at 210

  16. We miss you and will be so sad not to have Artemo/ Salty Ginger with us for the rest of our sailing adventure. Give my best to the family.

    (and Jim, Cal and William)
    SV/ Ceol Mor

  17. Like many before I have enjoyed your adventure.The Gromiteers directed me to you & I watched as you transitted the Canal.Now on to the next for sure.
    Sue admiral of the Lady Simcoe

  18. What a life you Perry's have. Continue to really LIVE IT as you have. I've travelled your journey through your blog and have enjoyed every post, waiting anxiously for the next one to get my Perry Fix! Your journey has not ended, you've just turned the page to a new map with new adventures and challenges.

    It was so good to connect with you in Auckland the day before you left for home. Love and hugs, Marilyn from Dawson Creek!

  19. I already miss your Blog. Waiting for your book titled "Perry Style". Looking forward to seeing your family back in the hood.

    Mike Ride
    Bennington Heights

  20. I have been there with you all as well as you sailed to all those exotic islands. Holding my breath thru all the storms. Your children as well as yourselves have learned so much and also us as readers. Cant wait to read that book Julie you certainly do have a way with words.
    Cousin Theresa from Inverary, Ont.

  21. Artemo,
    It's been a beautiful journey. I think we have all been inspired and humbled. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  22. I have been following your journey since you met my brother Dave Green. I have checked on you regularly -looking forward to each post.
    Thanks you so much for your honesty and willingness to share.
    Nicki Cameron Salt Spring Island B.C.

  23. Thank you for sharing your adventure and dreams. I loved reading all of your posts.

    Caroline & Garth Erickson
    Cochrane, AB

  24. Time to go again....blogs back on :-). Hope you all join us again.